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It’s great being a Guided By Voices fan. You certainly never have to wait too long before they drop another batch of great songs on LP, EP or even the humble seven inch (normally about 10 releases in the space of a few months!) and for a few years now we've even been getting the added bonus of Pollard's solo stuff thrown in there too.
So here we have Mr P’s latest full length album for Fire Records and it’s bloody marvellous. Quite accessible too, compared to some of his more self indulgent lo-fi bedroom demo stuff. Recorded at Waterloo Sound in Brecksville, Ohio and merely a two man job - with Pollard at the helm on guitars and vocals and long time GBV cohort Todd Tobias filling the rest of the band out.
There’s the typical GBV sound here, with uber-catchy guitar riffs and straight down the line, no frills, indie rock drums and bass. But there seems to be a real sense of achievement here. I’m the first to admit that there’s always been a certain element of the ramshackle, “that’ll do” kind of attitude to much of GBV’s past output, but then that’s why we like them so much. ‘Blazing Gentlemen’ however is quite a polished record, crisp and finished with a neat little bow on top. Makes a nice change eh Robert?
10/10 Commander Doubt Customer review, 8th December 2014
You can't judge music in any neutral objective fashion, that's what I believe. What standards are we holding the music too? How should it sound? Like the music your ears are accustomed to because your older sister listened to the Thompson Twins or your brother was an ELO fan? No, I say. Too many! This is too many songs, he should exercise restraint – bah humbug! Some would say that twenty-one solo albums in seventeen years released by GBVs front man Bobby P. is too many...I don't care what they think. That number doesn't cover projects under other names...but enough of the numbers. Way back in time, well just a few decades ago, a band called the Cravats released an album by the title "Colossal Tunes Out", that title sums up, for me, the 'Colossal' output and quality of Robert Pollard's releases. He writes colossal tunes and puts them out in the world for us to listen to again and again or if you want to disdain, then refrain from listening. I think that listeners will have their own 'standout' tracks. The standout tracks for me - Red Flag Down, Storm Center Level Seven, This Place Has Everything are basted with melancholia - so munch on them and get ready for single releases - Return of the Drums and Tonight's the Rodeo - even as the taste of those tracks lingers on the lips - yummy goodness, more cool riffs and melodic lyrical mastery packed into these two songs than some artists put into a whole "career". Don't listen to pointless reviews that tell of an abandonment of lo-fi or experimental origins, it has and will always be about the colossal tunes, over and out.
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- Blazing Gentlemen by Robert Pollard
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